UPDATE: Tim Peake and fellow astronauts board the ISS

Sussex astronaut Tim Peake's exploits are predicted to be an inspiration
Sussex astronaut Tim Peake's exploits are predicted to be an inspiration

Sussex astronaut Tim Peake has docked and is now on board the International Space Station after an initial slight problem.

The crew had to resort to manual docking after the automatic system didn’t work as planned.

Once all the safety checks were complete. Tim and his fellow astronauts finally boarded the ISS at 8pm.

During his first conversation from the ISS, Tim said: “It was a beautiful launch... that first sunrise was spectacular.”

Asked for a message for the young people who watched the launch, he said: “I hope you enjoyed the show.”

Now Tim is settled in, he will undergo 10 gruelling exercise sessions each week in a bid to maintain his strength, bones and fitness.

The astronaut will spend two hours each day working out in 23degC heat on an exercise bike, treadmill and a specially-designed weights machine.

His exercise programme, focussing on high intensity training, will be reviewed and revised each week by a specialist based on Earth.

A lack of gravity means that heat will not dissipate from Major Peake’s body, causing him to get “pretty warm” during a workout.

Dr Jon Scott, team leader in the Space Medicine Office at the European Astronaut Centre, helped Major Peake prepare for space.

“It’s really important that Tim is prepared to exercise on board the International Space Station (ISS),” the University of Bath graduate told BBC Somerset.

“Exercise is one of the best counter-measures we have against all the changes that will take place in his body, so he needs to be ready to exercise almost as soon as he arrives.

“Today, tomorrow and the following day he will have time to get used to micro gravity, he will get to see the exercise devices on board and then fairly shortly afterwards we will begin his exercise program.

“This will consist of about 10 exercise sessions per week where we will use the treadmill, the exercise bike to maintain his physical fitness.

“We’ll also use this incredible weight lifting device designed by Nasa to try to maintain his muscle strength and also the strength of his bones.

“Bones are very susceptible to becoming thinner and weaker in space.”

Dr Scott, who was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, has been working with Major Peake since joining the team in Germany last year.

The space enthusiast, who graduated with a degree in Sport and Exercise science in 2002, said Major Peake’s space workouts would not be easy.

“You do sweat a lot. The space station is around 23 degrees, which is quite warm for a gymnasium,” he said.

“We try to use quite high intensity exercise as well because that’s the most effective type of exercise to get the effects we’re looking for.

“One of the problems that we have is that because we don’t have convection in space, because of the lack of gravity, the heat doesn’t dissipate away from the astronaut - so they can get pretty warm during exercise.”

Recent data has shown that some crew members on the ISS return to earth without losing muscle, bone and equally fit as when they left, he said.

However, this is not the case for everyone, with some appearing to be susceptible to the effects of space and others resilient to them.

“The exercise programme - if me or you were to do it here on Earth - would get us very fit,” Dr Scott added.

“We are lucky with someone like Tim who is a natural runner, who loves his exercise.

“It’s been a really simple and easy job to teach him and get him to learn about the exercise programme and we’re very confident that he will enjoy it and engage with it while on board.

“The real work really starts now.

“After these first few days of getting used to life in micro gravity and him seeing the exercise machines for the first time then one of my team who is assigned to Tim will effectively be his personal trainer for the next six months.

“He will provide Tim with exercise programmes to follow, he will review Tim’s exercise and his results every week and he will suggest changes or increases or decreases in certain types of activity to try to make sure that we keep the exercise interesting for Tim - but we also keep the intensity high enough to get the effects that we’re looking for.”